Key West Cereus

There are approximately 20 species of cereus cacti ranging from Central/South America through Mexico and the West Indies to the southernmost parts of Florida.  While in Key West last summer, I removed some cuttings of unknown cereus origin (from a parking lot) and blogged about them here.  Although I assumed my purloined plant was Selenicereus pteranthus, now that it’s bigger I think I snagged a dragonfruit (aka Hylocereus undatus)


Hylocereus undatus is a vining, hemi-epiphytic, broader and fleshier relative of the Selenicereus varieties.  As this sprawling cactus gains height, aerial roots assist the upward climb and ensure the plant’s survival if the soil bound roots should fail. What an adaptation!

Flowers in this genus are extremely fragrant and large–up to 14″ long x 9″ wide–and typically appear after 3 years..but only at night.  As a side note, the H. undatus along my vinewall just entered it’s 3rd year: I’ll let you know if anything happens!

I hope my American readers are having a fun 4th of July weekend and that Hurricane Arthur hasn’t wrecked your plans along the East Coast!  Yesterday’s weather was still unsettled here (as you can tell from the sky below) but Maggie and I spent it beachside anyway!


Happy 4th of July Weekend from Vero Beach!

Until next time…

🙂 🙂 🙂


24 thoughts on “Key West Cereus

    • I’m hoping the two I have will eventually bloom. The older one (along my vine wall) was partially damaged over the winter and although the remaining section looks very healthy I think blooming has probably been set back another year.
      We’re right at the edge of where these plants grow easily so keeping them alive can be a crapshoot!

  1. Hi Karen, how are you?
    It has 3 sides, so you might be right that it is dragon fruit plant. Btw, I have updated the blog to see how mine has grown now. The cold and wet winter last year damaged the plant badly, but it seems it has recovered this year.

    • Hi Lois:
      I visited your blog a day or so ago and am SO impressed by your amazing orchid collection. What a knack you have for getting the most out of all of them! My mother’s neighbor has at least 20 different varieties wired to her front tree and although beautiful they pale in comparison to yours. 🙂

  2. One of my college roommates kept a dragon fruit plant in our south window of our dorm room. Her aunt lived in Florida, and when it never grew any fruit, she sent us–“express”!!!–a shoe box with 6 dragon fruit inside. I hadn’t thought about dragon fruit in at least 20 years, and your post brought back so many memories. Thanks, Karen.

  3. Hope you had a great weekend and 4th… love the plant, not easy to always know which ones they are… till they flower…

    • I guess the worst hit was around New Bedford/Fairhaven which was right where our old summer house was. Reading the accounts of flooding along that MA. south coast reminded me alot of Hurricane Bob…boy was THAT a pain!

    • Hello E.C.!
      Maggie has just started getting into the seed germination/gardening thing and yesterday we transplanted her young veggies into larger pots. Always fun when the torch is passed and I was absolutely shocked her first germination showed NO damping! 🙂

      • Wow, that’s so awesome that the torch is shared and passed. I hope she grows a bumper crop of veggies. She must have inherited a super green thumb from her Mom. 🙂
        It’s amazing there wasn’t any damping off. What did she use to prevent it?
        I use chamomile tea to try to help prevent my seedlings from it.

  4. What an interesting plant! At first glance I thought this was the plant we call Christmas cactus, a type of Schlumbergera, but that has much smaller flowers, and I see your plant also has broader leaves. I hope you had a great trip to the beach!

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